Celery Sambar
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Celery Sambar

sambar and me have had a love-hate kina relationship. my sambar has been an utter n complete flop, up until recently. all thanks to my dad-in-law's recipe... i dont normally use sambar powder for making sambar, coz somehow it just doesn't taste all that autenthic (aske me! all my flopshow sambar's were made using sambar powder, so now i steer clear of it!)now, celery isn't really something one would associate with sambar. but as weird as it might sound, celery adds a lovely, fragrant note to a sambar (...and i had quite a bit of celery i desperately needed to use up, so u do the math!)

Nirmala Prem

Ingredients

8-serving
  1. 1 Cup Toor Dal
  2. 4 onions small (shallots)
  3. 2 green chillies , slit
  4. 4 celery stalks
  5. 1 potato small
  6. 1 red onion medium sized
  7. 1 tomato medium
  8. 8 - 10 curry leaves
  9. 1/4 Teaspoon mustard seeds
  10. 2 Tablespoons chilly red powder
  11. 1 Tablespoon coriander powder
  12. 1/2 Teaspoon turmeric powder , divided
  13. 1/4 Teaspoon fenugreek powder
  14. 1/8 Teaspoon asafoetida
  15. 1 Cup tamarind extract
  16. 1 small bunch coriander leaves , chopped
  17. 1 Pinch cumin powder
  18. 1/4 Teaspoon jaggery , crushed
  19. 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  20. salt

Method

30 mins
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    Wash the toor dal well and soak it for about 15 minutes. extract the tamarind pulp from the tamarind using warm water

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    Add the dal, shallots, slit green chillies, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and a little salt to a pressure cooker. top it off with water (about an inch or thereabouts on top of the level of dal in the cooker) and pressure cook for a good 6 to 8 whistles (you want the dal to be nice n soft n mushy).

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    After 6 to 8 whistles, take the cooker off the heat and set aside to cool (with the lid and weight still on).

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    Dice all the veggies into medium sized pieces. keep the tomatoes separately.

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    In a non-stick kadahi (pan), heat the coconut oil. when the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds.

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    When the mustard seeds splutter, add the curry leaves and reduce the heat to medium.

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    Next add the diced veggies (except tomatoes) and stir well.

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    Add some salt, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and coriander powder and stir well to coat all the veggies.

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    When the spices lose their raw smell, add the fenugreek powder and asafoetida. stir once again.

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    Reduce the heat to low, and add the diced tomatoes. stir gently to coat (you dont want the tomatoes to lose their shape).

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    Open the pressure cooker (most of the pressure should be relieved by now), and stir the dal to break it up.

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    Add the veggies to the toor dal mixture and place the cooker (open) back on the heat. increase the heat to high and stir to combine.

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    Add the tamarind pulp and half of the chopped coriander leaves. you could add some water at this stage, depending on how thick or runny you want your sambar to be. stir and leave to simmer till all the veggies are cooked through.

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    When the veggies are done (you can tell by testing the largest piece of potato), add the cumin powder, jaggery and stir. check for seasoning and add more salt at this stage till it tastes just right.

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    Finally, add the remaining chopped coriander leaves and turn off the heat.

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    Serve with plain white rice (i like to eat it with yogurt and mango pickle).

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